Stonehenge Summer Solstice 2023

The Solstice

In the Northern Hemisphere, the longest day of the year is 21st June.

For thousands of years people have gathered at Stonehenge to mark the passing of the seasons.

Today, the pull of Stonehenge is as strong as ever drawing people to the Wiltshire countryside.

Getting To Stonehenge

Details below were my experience in 2023.

Bus Service

Salisbury Reds run the 333 bus service from Salisbury train station to the Visitors Centre at Stonehenge. The bus service to Stonehenge ran until about 01:00 on the morning of 21st June.

Tickets could be bought in advance on the Salisbury Reds mobile app and cost £12 for a return. It was definitely worth buying the ticket in advance, but there was a ticket seller working their way down the queue.

At Salisbury railway station, the bus stop was immediately to the left when exiting the train station’s ticket hall. Being first out of the railway station meant you had a good chance of being on the next bus.

The bus took about 25 minutes to reach Stonehenge before getting caught up in the traffic jams for ten minutes.

The Visitors Centre

Arriving at the Stonehenge Visitor’s Centre, most took advantage of the toilets before heading for the stones. The buses were scheduled to start running back to Salisbury from about 04:30.

For anyone less able to walk there was a regular shuttle bus running between the Visitors Centre and the security checkpoint.

There were plenty of signs reminding everyone that alcohol was not allowed in Stonehenge.

There was a specially opened footpath that ran alongside the road before crossing over to the enormous car parks.

Having passed rows of temporary toilets, it was time to strike out across the fields on 30 minute walk to the stones.


Just before the stones came into view, there was a security search point, immediately before which were amnesty bins for alcohol and other prohibited items. There were plenty of security staff searching bags meaning the queues were only a couple of minutes long.

After the security point there were food stands and dozens of temporary toilets.

English Heritage have details of other travel options on their website.

Stonehenge At Night

Stonehenge was already pretty busy by 01:00. The crowd was really good natured the whole night as we looked forward to experiencing the dawn together.

There was a rule about not sleeping on the ground to avoid creating trip hazards, the reality was lots of people were sleeping with some marking there slumbering bodies with torches so they didn’t accidentally get kicked in the night.

Whilst there was some floodlighting of the stones, large parts of the site was darker than it looks in the photos.

The Centre of the Stones

A constant hypnotic beat rang out from the middle of Stonehenge for the whole night, made up of drums and didgeridoos, which carried on without a break. There was no restriction on getting into the centre of the stones.

A drummer in the very centre of the stones

After 90 minutes of slowly edging forward, I was finally able to get this picture of me in the centre of Stonehenge about 03:00.


The morning chorus of the birds announced the first light of dawn would arrive in 15 minutes.

The darkness slowly slipped away as the Earth turned taking Stonehenge towards the sun.

From 04:30 onwards, the excitement rose towards the sunrise time of 05:15.

Heading Home

Low mist meant the sun was not visible until some time after sunrise.

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